While working at at Arzak Nicolai's friend Chef Felipe Ribenboim shared with him about Fundacion Alicia which Felipe helped translate the book Léxico Científico Gastronómico into Portuguese. When hearing about this laboratory Nicolai knew he must visit.
Alicia's laboratory was headed by Pere Castells along with Ferran Adria. The team there worked with nutritionist for better hospital foods for certain ailments as well as researching culinary techniques and working with local chefs in order to reach to new advancements.
Pere Castell was the head scientist at Alicia while Nicolai spent his time there. Pere's knowledge was astounding to Nicolai as he understood food on a micro level. Currently, Pere is working on Bullipedia which is a 35 book series that is culinary focused and containing 17,500 pages.
At Alicia Nicolai researched different food products and cataloged them. The process was very different than the cooking process he was accustomed. The research enthralled Nicolai and changed his view of food forever.